Pain is a fact of life for many people, and they struggle to find the best way to manage it. Among their options, some will try CBD for Pain Management, especially when they don’t achieve lasting relief from over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine. People use CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals when they don’t want to become addicted to opioids. CBD has not been approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement, and manufacturers and sellers of CBD can’t make claims about its medical effectiveness.
When considering CBD to treat pain, keep in mind the following areas:
1. What CBD pain benefits have been proven?
While there is a great deal of information associating CBD with pain management, including for arthritis and muscle aches, the topic needs further research. Some clinical studies have been published, but these were conducted primarily to determine the effects of cannabinoids (especially THC) in lab animals like rats. More research is needed about the benefits of CBD for pain relief.
2. How can CBD relieve pain?
As part of the endocannabinoid system, the human body contains receptors that transmit signals to the brain and trigger the onset of pain. When CBD interacts with these receptors, it can inhibit or reduce the intensity of the signals. But since everybody is unique, CBD affects each person differently. A particular product might help ease pain for you, but it may not work for someone else.
3. What type of CBD should I take for pain?
When searching for a CBD product that will help manage your pain, be sure the CBD is derived from hemp, which contains little or no THC. There are many CBD products you can try, including tinctures (for sublingual use or vaping), capsules and lotions. CBD products can be categorized as containing isolate or broad spectrum cannabidiol. Isolates contain only CBD. Broad-spectrum products contain CBD plus other compounds such as terpenes—aromatic chemicals that produce a distinctive flavor and character. Certain terpenes added to CBD, such as myrcene, limonene and pinene, combine to create the “entourage effect,” which might offer greater benefits than CBD alone.
4. How much CBD should I take?
Before you begin taking CBD in an effort to relieve your pain, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to determine whether it will help you, what the starting amount should be, what delivery method to use, and what interactions it might have with other medications you’re currently taking.
Your initial goal shouldn’t be to become 100% pain-free but to have only the amount of pain that you can manage. Experts recommend starting with the smallest dose and splitting that into several doses during the day, then gradually increasing (or titrating) after a few days until you begin feeling an effect. However, you’ll want to keep with the regimen for a few weeks before you decide that CBD just isn’t right for you. The amount that’s most effective for you depends on the type of pain and its severity, but most experts recommend slowly working up to the point of effectiveness. After that point, increasing the dosage actually decreases its effectiveness.
5. How do CBD topicals work to relieve pain?
Topicals are designed to target areas of the body that need it the most. These products contain oil that’s infused with CBD, as well as terpenes from plants such as peppermint. Topicals come in a variety of products, including lotions, bath soaks, balms, ointments, salves and massage oils.
You apply a topical directly to the skin, where endocannabinoid receptors in the epidermis absorb it and potentially provide relief from skin irritations, arthritis, osteoporosis and joint or muscle pain. For ideal absorption, rub the topical on thin skin, such as on a wrist or ankle, or directly onto the area where you’re experiencing pain. Remember that the effects can differ from one person to another.
A topical may take 20 or more minutes to work, and it can last from one to three hours. The amount to take will depend on where and how often you use it, as well as the quality of the topical itself.